Snap Circuits® Arcade (made by Elenco and winner of The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association’s Best Toys for Kids award in 2015) is an electronic circuit assembly kit with over 200 fun projects and a lot to teach. Its pieces snap together like a LEGO® set. Some of the included parts are a base grid, a programmable fan, and an LED display with a microcontroller.
The instruction manual includes a list of DOs and DON’Ts, including good safety guidelines while still encouraging creativity. The directions also contain detailed diagrams to explain how some of the more complicated parts work, for those who may want to know. WARNING: READ THE INSTRUCTION MANUAL BEFORE YOU TRY THE PROJECTS BECAUSE THERE MAY BE SAFETY ISSUES YOU MIGHT NOT OTHERWISE BE AWARE OF. For those of you that may like creating your own circuits, make sure you specifically read page 9. In the Manual, there is also information on troubleshooting and a brief ‘Introduction to Electricity.’ As for the clarity of the instructions, I personally found them quite easy to follow, although children 8 and under might want to have an adult to help.
Snap Circuits® Arcade includes many interesting projects, such as a water detector, or a trip-wire trap. Several games are also included, for example, a memory game that can be played at different difficulty levels, and ‘Twenty-One,’ which is based on the card game Blackjack. There are also several other fun projects involving sirens and/or disco balls, and even a really loud alarm (so it might be best not to do this at night when your parents or neighbors are asleep).
The only downside of these projects that I found is that the fan easily caught hair and got tangled in it, causing the blades to stop spinning. After the hair was removed, the fan still did not function as well as before, so be careful with that.
Overall, I found all of the projects very fun and intriguing, and I highly recommend Snap Circuits® Arcade to all kids over the age of 8. Children under that age may still enjoy it, but will need more parental supervision. If you want to see more of the Snap Circuits products, or need replacement parts (by the way, these pieces are interchangeable with the pieces in Electro-Gadget 200) check out www.elenco.com. Teachers may want to see the “Teacher’s booklet” found at the site.